Emergency Town Meeting: 80% of Montclair Without Power (Updated)

Update: Montclair Township Council Chambers will be open to residents Wednesday, October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. so they may charge their mobile devices. The Montclair Municipal Building is located at 205 Claremont Avenue.

Baristanet sat in on an emergency town council meeting this afternoon at city hall, where council members discussed the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy:

“This is an epic event,” said Mayor Robert D. Jackson. “Eighty percent of Montclair is without power, and PSE&G has reported that it will take them 5-7 days to restore it.”

It’s a much worse situation than with Irene, according to Marc Dashield, the chief executive officer of the township of Montclair. Further comparing the two hurricanes that have hit Montclair over the last 14 months, Dashield said: “With Irene we had lots of branches all over town. With Sandy we have more entire trees down. And less than half of the town lost power.”

Council members are cautioning residents to stay inside, if possible. “Don’t drive or walk around unless necessary,” said Mayor Jackson. “There’s still some wind, and many trees and branches are in a weakened state from the storm and could fall.”

The council also urges residents to take extra care at intersections, where 50 trees block traffic across town. Numerous traffic signs were damaged by the storm, and traffic lights are out at seven intersections, including Valley/Watchung, Bellevue/Park, and Grove/Watchung. “Be extra observant when driving,” said Mayor Jackson. “I’ve seen people just go right through the intersections without stopping.”

Council members are particularly concerned about live wires, and caution that any wire could be a live wire. “If you’re walking around and there are lots of leaves on the ground, you may not see the wires,” said Dashield. “There are no reported injuries so far, and we want to keep it that way.”

During the meeting, the mayor, who is one of the 80 percent of residents without power, said: “I’m not happy with PSE&G. I haven’t see a single truck in Montclair today.” He added that police and fire workers also have not seen the trucks.

The council called into a PSE&G conference call, where the utility said although they haven’t yet been to Montclair, they’re working hard to fix the system, and must repair switching stations first. PSE&G said the latest number for NJ outages was 1.4 million.

Due to the after-effects of the storm, council members are postponing Halloween until this Saturday, 12-5pm. Said Dashield: “It’s just not safe to trick or treat.”

Following the meeting, Montclair Township released this Hurricane Sandy Update:

There are currently over 100 fallen trees in township roadways and Community Services crews have been out since early this morning clearing roadways and removing those trees that are not near downed power. PSE&G will need to see to felled trees near fallen wires since they may still be live.

More than 80% of the Township is without power. If you do not have power in your home, we ask that you notify PSE&G straight away by calling 1-800-436-7734.

The Montclair Police Department asks that you stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. There are many downed wires throughout the Township –– always assume they are live and stay clear of them.

Three major intersections are without traffic lights: Grove St. at Watchung Avenue, Bellevue Avenue at Park Street, and Valley Road at Watchung Avenue. We ask that you use extreme caution when approaching these and any other intersection that may be blocked or without traffic signals.

In addition, many stops signs were downed by strong winds. These are being replaced by temporary signs. Please use extreme caution at all intersections.

Township crews will be out all day today and tomorrow clearing the roads.

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  1. Noticed the same alarming thing on a four-mile walk today – branches and wires everywhere and not a single PSE&G truck to be found.

  2. 80% Seriously? No wonder this site is so quiet. My lights flickered a few times but luckily no loss of power. Looks a mess out there. I heard saws down the block.

  3. PSE&G not even coming to Montclair until Friday, according to am article on NorthJersey.com. No trucks, no crews, no anything until Friday at the earliest. This, reportedly, was the outcome of the Mayor’s conference call with “PSE&G executives.”

  4. Glad to see the mayor has some fire in his belly. He is going to need it the next few days dealing with PSE&G.

  5. How is it that NEIGHBORING TOWNS like East Orange had there power turned back on and we can’t even get our power put back on??!!! What kind of GARBAGE is that??

  6. I was driving around the town yesterday aimlessly, trying to charge my iPhone in my car, and did not see one solitary PSEG truck anywhere.

  7. I saw 4 trucks on valley north of Bellevue this morning (Weds) – still doesnt mean that anyone was outside of the trucks doing any work – just inside reading papers and sipping coffee.

  8. In response to the person who said the PSE&G workers were (probably? not sure they SAW them actually) inside their trucks sipping coffee and reading newspapers: You are making a hostile and negative assumption w/o any information. IF WE TURN ON ONE ANOTHER SO EASILY IN THIS KIND OF CRISIS, HEAVEN HELP US AS WE ENTER A PERIOD OF DEEPENING CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS. If they were sipping coffee and reading newspapers, perhaps it is because PSE&G hasn’t yet figured out where they are to be deployed and doing what; they may have been waiting for instructions. Or for additional equipment to arrive. Or maybe they had just finished a long overnight shift and were taking a break. These are the “first responders” we say we respect so much. GIVE THEM A BREAK and show some respect and open-mindedness.

  9. Don’t bash the PSEG folks on the street. They are the ones that will be working night and day to restore your power. There’s a truck on my street now, and I can confirm that they are actually doing work.

  10. Do the water pumps have power in montclair? I’m just wondering because 80% are without power. Hoping that the water pumps are in the 20%.

  11. I can’t imagine that no PSE&G trucks have been to Montclair because our power went out at 8 pm Monday night, and we got it back at 5 pm Tuesday, much to our surprise and delight. Pretty sure that didn’t magically happen on its own, and I am thankful to all the crews that are working overtime, taking time away from their own families, to help out everyone in this time of need. Even utility workers are entitled to a break, especially given all the work ahead of them, and it’s chilly out! I know the power situation is hugely inconvenient, but as long as you’re safe and warm, have a little compassion – there is a LOT of work to be done.

  12. But this is Montclair! They should get every house back on power here before even thinking about helping the other million customers without power!

  13. I’ve seen several PSE&G trucks and crews around Montclair. You can’t assume that there is zero PSE&G presence in the town just because of what you may have seen during your drive around town – the percentage of the town you see when you drive around at a certain time is pretty limited!

    The comments stating “I can’t believe this town got power before us” seem incredibly ignorant.

  14. We had a hurricane collide with two other weather systems during a full moon tide cycle. Stuff like his happens. Everyone has been saying for years that the northeast has been long overdue for a mega storm. Thats why we insure our boats. 🙂

  15. Tweets are saying that a Newark substation came back online in the last hour and that parts of several towns have power back.

  16. It IS very inconvenient to be without power, but be thankful it’s not worse….my heart goes out to the people of Breezy Point, Queens.

  17. Parts of Grove Street, and Montclair Ave near Walnut are tweeting they have power as well as
    Forest, Stanford and half of Cambridge.

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